10 THINGS NEVER TO SAY – AND WHY

There is an extraordinary young man, Alex Lowery, who has Autism and speaks, blogs, and is an author on the topic of his Autism.

On his blog, Mr. Lowery published a blog post entitled “10 things you should never say to NTs describing things he has said and how he learned that his direct answers were not always well-received.

NTs can sometimes used to describe people who are “neuro-typical” and do not have the neurological array of Autism (or other neurological differences).

I read the list of 10 things to the Navigator and asked him why he thought they should not be said.

Below are his answers.

1. Look just because your rabbit has just died. It doesn’t make her the best rabbit in the world. Everyone thinks that about their pet.

This is not a nice thing to say because they are feeling bad, and saying this will make them feel really bad.

2. That new haircut doesn’t suit you.

This is not a nice thing to say because hair cuts cost money.

3. That DVD I got you was bought for my brother but he didn’t want it.

I don’t know.

4. Just think you are nearer 50 than 40 now.

This is not a nice thing to say because this is an insult about age.

5. You’re starting to get a lot of grey hairs lately.

This is another insult of age.

6. I hate the way you’ve dyed your hair.

This is not nice because dye costs a lot of money.

7. You’ve put on a lot of weight recently.

That’s just plain rude.

8. Wow! You’ve got a lot of Acne!

That’s even worse than rude.

9. I didn’t like the present you got me at all!

This is not nice because it is disappointing to the person who got the present.  Especially if the present cost a lot of money, like a car.

10. I can see that you’re starting to get wrinkles.

This is another insult to age.


Apparently, in working on social skills, we have emphasized cost consciousness and avoiding ageism, and we need to work on messaging around re-gifting.

For more information on Mr. Lowery, please visit his website here.

10 Things Not to Say and Why

16 Comments

  1. Hi! This is Alex Lowery here! Very good article I must say that I think your son’s understanding of why you shouldn’t say these things is better than mine. Good article!
    Also, thank you for mentioning my name in it 🙂

  2. Thank you so much, Alex! Your work is incredibly valuable to me, helping me better understand my son and how to help him. I am glad to mention your name and happy to direct others to your website so that they can benefit as well.

  3. How great! this is such an applicable tool. (which is my thing)It is a great assessment on the things we may be leaving out!!! His responses were right on

  4. I smiled after reading those responses! It was clear that you guys have emphasized cost consciousness and ageism, which is great. Your hard work has paid off. Do you have a post that deals specifically with how you work on social skills? That would be really interesting to read!

  5. That’s a great idea, Rosanne! I will have to think about that, since it is an active process on our part – he doesn’t just observe and mimic our behavior.

    I will be sure to give you credit for the idea!  
  6. I have autism there a few good videos I sent to my friends one is the sh@t people say to non verbles an the other one is the sh@t people say to autism they are do real an funny becuse it true an it mioin what nt do .it also annoying when others talk in front of you like your not there .that drives me crazy

    • Thanks for raising that important issue, Stef – I started out as a parent speaking for my son, and I have to remember and remind myself that as he gets older to not talk about him and to talk to him and include him in conversations, especially about things that affect him. Great point, thank you!

  7. You also shouldn’t tell the other person that this DVD was intended for my brother, but was not wanted by him for other reasons too. I agree with through my autistic eyes about it meaning that you’re giving the other person leftovers. Also, I would like to add that then it’s like you are giving the other person used goods. NOBODY likes hearing about or knowing that, unless maybe if they’re getting clothes that are hand-me-downs and they like getting hand-me-downs. That was me, liking or not minding getting clothes that were hand-me-downs, but not everybody else is that same way. Another point is that you shouldn’t tell somebody that you don’t like their new haircut or the new color that their hair got died, because then it makes them feel bad and it is an insult to their hair.

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